Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 5

Outline and Background of Daniel 5

Sacrilege of Belshazzar - Daniel 5:1-4

Shock of Belshazzar - Daniel 5:5-6

Summons of the Wise Men and Solution of the Queen - Daniel 5:7-17

Sermon from Daniel - Daniel 5:18-25

Significance of the Handwriting - Daniel 5:26-28

Sequel of Events - Daniel 5:29-31

Applications and Typical Prophecies - Daniel 5

Significance of the Handwriting - Daniel 5:26-28

In four little words, divine judgment was pronounced against Belshazzar, who had set
himself up against the Most High God. The pronouncement consists, however, of three Aramaic words, since one is repeated.  In our script, the writing looks like MN’MN’TKLUPRSUN, and with the words separated and vowels added, it reads MENE MENE TEKEL UPARSIN. In his interpretation, Daniel dropped the conjunction “U” and the plural ending of “IN” from the last word and made it PERES.

Some commentators have attempted to make these words stand for “a mina, a shekel and two half-minas.” Literally, the writing means “to
number,” “to weigh,” and “to divide.” Therein resides a cryptic message, which Daniel decoded and revealed.

MENE:
God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. MENE indicates that Belshazzar’s and Babylon’s numbers are up! God’s calculations are not carelessly arrived at—duration of the king’s life and empire’s existence is perfectly timed and not left to chance (Daniel 2:21; 4:17).

TEKEL:
You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. It indicates God’s scales are accurate, exact and just. The king is lacking righteousness.

PERES:
Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. PARSIN (PERES) has a double sense. Daniel discerns the kingdom will be given to the Medes and Persians and afterwards be broken up.

Belshazzar had been found too light in moral and spiritual worth to balance God’s scales—the standard being righteousness. Numbered, counted out and measured—weighed and divided, the king is found deficient by God. The scales of God are accurate, exact, just and fair. Abraham recognized these things about God, when He said to the LORD:

Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis
18:25).

Why did Babylon fall? Its time was up! The period that God allotted to Babylon had been revealed by the head of gold in the Dream of Dreams. The predicted seventy years of captivity for the Jews was ending (Jeremiah 29:10). Having challenged God’s patience and having passed His deadline for repentance, Belshazzar would be plunged into eternal destruction.

There is a last night for every nation and there is a last night for every individual. God rules; He determines the times and boundaries of the nations, and every person is utterly dependent upon God for his or her next breath. With the unexpectedness of a thief, the Babylonian Empire and Belshazzar’s life ended that night. Everyone should take to heart Yahweh’s warning to Israel.

Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel (Amos 4:12).

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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